(Originally posted 7/5/06)
One of our special dinners in Seatttle was at Canlis. Canlis is a beautiful restaurant, an architectural gem. Alot of dark wood and it seems to organically fit within the surroundings. It has a superb view of Lake Union and the Cascades. It is clearly an elegant place that caters to all of the senses.
We began by having a glass of Argyle sparkling wine in the lounge area. We sat, talking, and admiring the the interior of the restaurant. When we were ready, we informed the hostess and we were then whisked away to our table.
Now, I had reserved the Cache room for dinner. This is a private room, just for the two of us. We were led upstairs, through a large function room, and into an intimate room that almost appears to be nestled in the trees. The windows look out on Lake Union and the mountains, and there is even a telescope in the room to assist your vieweing. Besides our table, the room also possesses a couch where you can relax between courses, or even after dinner. It is your own private hideaway. Renting the room costs $100. And I do think that it is well worth the price if you want to celebrate a special occasion, or have a very romatic evening.
Our only waitperson was Wanda and she was excellent, without being overbearing, throughout our meal. She deserves kudos for her work.
The wine list is voluminous, with over 80 pages of wines. There is a good range of prices in the wines. My only complaint is that there was only a small selection of wines available by the glass. I wanted some more information on a few wines and Wanda went to get the wine sommelier to answer my inquiries. He seemed very knowledgeable about the wines and was helpful in my choices. He was not pushy at all. I finally settled on a bottle of 2003 DeLille Doyenne AIX, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend from Washington. This was an excellent wine with alot of character, some interesting pepper notes and a long finish.
The menu had numerous interesting choices. I note that the menu in the Cache room is the same menu from the main restaurant but it lacks any prices. In addition, you do not receive a bill at the end of the meal. It gets mailed to you, with the addition of a 20% tip. This is all intended to enhance the experience and I think it is a good idea. The wine list though does have prices on it so you won't accidentally order a $1000 bottle of wine when you only wanted a $50 bottle.
We began our meal with the Canlis Chowder and the Dungeness Crab Cake. The chowder contains Dungeness crab, sea scallops and prawns in ginger-scented cream. This was a superb dish, with plenty of seafood in a creamy and delicious broth. The crab cake was excellent as well, though it was not as good as the one from Dahlia Lounge, though it was close. We next had the Ahi & Kona Kampachi Sashimi and the Pickette Salad. The sashimi was very fresh and there was alot of fish there. It had an intriguing soy-grapefruit vinaigrette that went very well with the sashimi. Another excellent dish. The salad contained romaine hearts, oregano, mint, Roquefort cheese and had a red wine vinaigrette. Everything was fresh and very tasty. With our appetizers, we also had fresh rolls and a basket of assorted crackers, breadsticks and such. A nice variety of accompaniements.
For our entrees, we had the Wild Pacific King Salmon (which was at the height of its season) and the Kobe tenderloin topped with foie gras. Both entrees were wonderful. Very good sized portions, fresh ingredients, alot of taste, perfectly cooked and prepared. Everything you want in an entree from a fine restaurant.
For dessert, we had the Grand Marnier souffle, a decadent and so satisfying dish. One of the best souffles I have ever had. I ordered a late harvest reisling to accompany the souffle, along with coffee and tea. We were both quite stuffed after this fine meal. There was no rush to get us to leave after we were finished. We could stay in the Cache room as long as we wished. So, we stayed a while, just relaxing, admiring the view, reveling in the afterglow of such a delicious meal.
When we were ready to leave, the restaurant staff had already arranged for a taxi to be present to take us back to our hotel. Overall, this was a superior dining experience and I would highly recommend this restaurant. It is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or to have a romantic dinner. Service, ambiance, food, and wine all combine to create an excellent experience. Canlis won't disappoint!
2576 Aurora Avenue North
Phone: (206) 283-3313